Justin Nelzen the horse hero dies at 40

Justin Nelzen, Texas Flood Horse Hero, Dies at 40

Horse Hero Gone

update January 17, 2017

Justin Nelzen became the nation’s horse hero when he saved over 25 horses from Houston’s raging floods last spring. Now, he is gone.

Nelzen, 40, died Wednesday, January 11, in Montgomery, TX. Authorities haven’t released a cause of death.

“They wouldn’t let me see him or touch him. I begged and begged,” his mother Tami Nelzen says in an exclusive interview with Rate My Horse PRO.

It may be weeks before we know how Nelzen died.

“I don’t understand why they won’t tell me what the hell happened,” Tami Nelzen adds.

CNN Screenshot: Justin Nelzen saves a drowning horse during historic 2016 Texas floodShe suspects there could be foul play.

Nelzen was a single father of two children, a girl, 14, and boy, 13. The children were with their mother at the time of his death.

Nelzen celebrated at a party with friends a day before he died and posed for a silly photo with his horses.

A veteran of the Navy, Nelzen lived life to the fullest with a smile, despite serving in Afghanistan. His mom says, “he probably suffered from some post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), like every one of them does, but he never showed it”.

Nelzen trained endurance horses, which took him to Dubai and Mongolia, where he won the 650-mile Mongol Derby.

Nelzen also worked as a farrier.

CNN included a photo of Nelzen saving one of the drowning horses in its ‘year in pictures, the moments that shaped 2016’.

“We were so proud,” his mom adds. “His biggest accomplishment was him being himself. He was proof of a life lived.”

Nelzen’s mom says he paid off his truck last month, had his goal list next to his bed and was looking at buying some property. His life was on track.

“This shouldn’t have happened to him,” Nelzen cries. “He was a loving, caring, Christian man.”

Family and friends will celebrate Nelzen’s life Friday, January 20 at 1 PM at Magnolia Cowboy Church at 2347 Glenmont Estates in Magnolia.